Bananas Foster is one of my very favorite desserts!! Not only is it rich, full of flavor and over-the-top delicious, it has to be one of the quickest and easiest dessert recipes. Banana slices are laced with a sweet, buttery rum sauce and sautéed until golden and caramelized. Serve with chopped walnuts and a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a simple dessert that looks impressive, yet is so easy to make! Instructions included to make with or without the flames!

Bananas Foster is such a classic dessert, but one many people have never actually tried. And there’s absolutely no reason for that, since it only requires a few ingredients and less than 15 minutes to make!

Traditionally, Bananas Foster is served with just vanilla ice cream. But since it’s primarily fruit with a sweet and sticky sauce, this recipe is a great topping for things like pancakes, cheesecake, French toast, and so much more!

bananas foster dessert made in a skilleet

What is Bananas Foster?

Bananas Foster is a dessert made with firm, yet ripe bananas and a sauce that includes butter, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and rum. The rum is often “flambéed” or lit on fire to burn off the alcohol. I’ve included directions to make this dessert with or without flames. Once bananas are glazed with the sauce and caramelized they’re paired with vanilla ice cream for a wonderful contrast in temperatures. So good!

Bananas Foster originated in the 1950s, in New Orleans, which was a major commercial entry point for the import of bananas from Central and South America. The recipe was created by Chef Paul Blange of Brennan’s Restaurant when the restaurant’s owner, Owen Brennan, challenged him to find a new use for all the bananas.

This dish was named after Owen’s friend, Richard Foster, who was a well-respected leader in the community. The restaurant uses 35,000 pounds of bananas each year to make this dish and it is still open today if you ever find yourself in the area and want to try the original. A staff member will make it table-side right in front of you!

bananas cooking in a large skillet with a glaze and chopped walnuts

Ingredients needed:

This simple, yet decadent bananas foster recipe uses minimal ingredients and is a great way to use up ripe bananas. Here’s everything you’ll need to make it:

  • Bananas. Choose bananas that are ripe but still firm. We want them to hold their shape when sliced and cooked. 
  • For the sauce. A combination of butter, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon will make this dish absolutely irresistible!
  • Rum. Adds flavor and you also cannot ignite and flambé the recipe without it. 
  • Nuts. I like to cook the banana slices with either chopped walnuts or pecans for an added crunch and nutty flavor.
  • Vanilla bean ice cream. To complement the hot fruit, Bananas Foster is traditionally served with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

How to make Bananas Foster

This banana dessert is very easy to make with three different options – without a flame in a hot skillet, with a flame on the stovetop or with a flame using a kitchen torch.

I’ve made this, with the flame and without, several times and the end result is pretty much the exact same. The flames are just super fun and impressive!

Watch the video within this post to see how to make the dessert using the flambé technique with rum over a gas flame. I’ll walk you through the different methods, but for the full, printable recipe, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

To make without flame:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once melted, mix in the brown sugar, vanilla, rum and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer and then add in the banana slices and nuts.
  2. Cook the bananas for 4 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until they’re caramelized on both sides. Be sure to watch the pan and gently move the bananas around a little so that they don’t stick.
  3. Remove from heat and serve over ice cream. ENJOY!

To make on a gas stove with flames:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once melted, mix in the brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer and then add in the banana slices and nuts.
  2. Cook the bananas for 4 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until they’re caramelized on both sides. Be sure to watch the pan and gently move the bananas around a little so that they don’t stick.
  3. TURN OFF THE GAS STOVE (this is important for safety), add the rum to the pan, and then turn the heat back on. Your skillet may ignite in flames on it’s own but if not, slightly tilt the pan (being careful not to actually spill it) so that the flames can get closer to the liquor. Once it ignites, shake the pan constantly until the flames subside. See video for reference on this step!
  4. Remove from heat and serve over ice cream. ENJOY!

Tips for recipe success

Just a few tips, so your bananas foster recipe is perfect every time!

  • Safety. When igniting the rum, avoid having other burners on. Keep your sleeves rolled up, tie long hair back, and have a large metal lid nearby in case you have to smother the flame.
  • Prepping the bananas. Cut into the bananas right before you start cooking. Once sliced, the bananas begin to oxidate and won’t keep well for long.
  • Substitute for alcohol. If you’d prefer to make this dessert without alcohol, you can swap the rum for apple or pineapple juice. You won’t be able to cook it with the flame and it won’t have quite the same flavor, but it will still be delicious.
  • Don’t have ice cream? Serve bananas foster with whipped cream or even yogurt!
bananas foster served with vanilla ice cream

More Sweet Banana Recipes to Try

Looking for more delicious banana recipes? Give these favorites a try!

For something so simple, bananas foster is SO good! If you end up making this recipe, PLEASE please snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @foodwithfeeling! I always love to see what you’re making and how you like it!

See how to make this:

 

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bananas foster served in a white bowl with ice cream

Bananas Foster


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 14 minutes
  • Yield: 2 large portions or 4 smaller 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Bananas Foster is one of my very favorite desserts!! Not only is it rich, full of flavor and over-the-top delicious, it has to be one of the quickest and easiest dessert recipes. Banana slices are laced with a sweet, buttery rum sauce and sautéed until golden and caramelized. Serve with chopped walnuts and a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a simple dessert that looks impressive, yet is so easy to make! Instructions included to make with or without the flames!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Vanilla bean ice cream for serving

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once melted, mix in the brown sugar, vanilla, rum and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer and then add in the banana slices and nuts.
  2. Cook the bananas for 4 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until they’re caramelized on both sides. Be sure to watch the pan and gently move the bananas around a little so that they don’t stick.
  3. Remove from heat and serve over ice cream. ENJOY!

How to make on a gas stove with flames:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once melted, mix in the brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer and then add in the banana slices and nuts.
  2. Cook the bananas for 4 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until they’re caramelized on both sides. Be sure to watch the pan and gently move the bananas around a little so that they don’t stick.
  3. TURN OFF THE GAS STOVE (this is important for safety), add the rum to the pan, and then turn the heat back on. Your skillet may ignite in flames on it’s own but if not, slightly tilt the pan (being careful not to actually spill it) so that the flames can get closer to the liquor. Once it ignites, shake the pan constantly until the flames subside. See video for reference on this step!
  4. Remove from heat and serve over ice cream. ENJOY!

Notes

Nutritional information does not include ice cream

  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 275
  • Sugar: 31.5 g
  • Sodium: 2.1 mg
  • Fat: 12.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38.6 g
  • Protein: 1.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 22.9 mg

Keywords: bananas foster, caramelized bananas